20 Minutes More Exercise a Day Could Reduce Risk of Serious Illness, Says New Research

20 Minutes More Exercise a Day Could Reduce Risk of Serious Illness, Says New Research

We're all well aware of the multitude of benefits that exercise brings. As a regular reader of MH, we'd be worried if you needed reminding.

But sometimes, just sometimes, it's good to be reminded. And when a new study, which shows how just 20 minutes a day of movement significantly improves health and lowers the risk of hospital admissions, we thought we'd share it.

The study, conducted by JAMA Network Open, observed 81,717 UK based participants and their weekly physical activity levels over a seven year period. Results showed that higher levels of accelerometer-measured physical activity were associated with lower risks of hospitalisation for a total of nine conditions:

  • Gallbladder disease

  • Tract infections

  • Diabetes

  • Venous thromboembolism

  • Pneumonia

  • Ischemic stroke

  • Iron deficiency anaemia

  • Diverticular disease

  • Colon polyps

According to the authors of the study: "Aiming to increase moderate to vigorous physical activity by 20 minutes per day may be a useful non-pharmaceutical intervention to reduce health care burdens and improve quality of life."

While 20 minutes doesn't sound like much, if you're struggling to find the time to exercise, you may be able to combine it with some everyday tasks. The study, and the NHS, count numerous activities that can be classed as exercise, such as:

  • Brisk walking

  • Water aerobics

  • Riding a bike

  • Dancing

  • Doubles tennis

  • Pushing a lawn mower

  • Hiking

  • Rollerblading

Of course, if you're a regular runner, swimmer, gym-goer, power walking (the list could go on), you're probably doing a bit more than 20 minutes. However, if you're struggling to fit in 20 minutes, then start small. Do five minutes a day – up and down the stairs a few times, for example – and gradually work your way up to 20.

Alternatively, why not try out some of our 10-minute workouts that you can do at home:

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